PM saves gay marriage bill by making a plea to Labour
The government’s gay marriage bill has been saved after a plea from David Cameron to the Labour Party helped prevent an amendment to the bill. The amendment would have legalised civil partnerships for heterosexual couples, putting the entire bill in jeopardy by adding around £4 billion in costs and delaying it significantly.
The amendment had been tabled by former children’s minister Tim Laughton, an anti-gay marriage Conservative MP. The decision by Labour to reject the amendment to civil partnerships resulted in its defeat by 375 to 70 votes, with a majority of 305. It is now likely that the same-sex couples marriage bill will have an easier journey through Parliament.
Ed Miliband had previously planned to abstain on the amendment, but after a warning from the government that the changes proposed by Laughton could threaten the entire bill, he changed his mind.
Divisions within the Conservative Party are becoming more apparent over this issue, with over 100 Conservative MPs voting against Mr Cameron in favour of an amendment which would allow registrars to refuse to conduct same-sex marriage ceremonies. This amendment did not succeed either.
Perhaps in an attempt at reconciliation, Mr Cameron recently wrote a “personal note” to his colleagues, sending an email to his fellow party members which said: “I am proud to lead this party. I am proud of what you do. And I would never have around me those who sneered or thought otherwise. We are a team, from the parish council to the local association, to parliament, and I never forget it.”